The Break Presents: Divine Council
Virginia is the birth place of some of the most progressive and important hip-hop artists of all time. The legendary production team The Neptunes have provided music and propelled the careers of some of the best artists in hip-hop history plus, individually, Pharrell and Chad Hugo became stars of their own. The Clipse is one of the best duos of all time and no one can make selling cocaine sound as beautiful as Pusha T. The new generation is not half bad too. D.R.A.M. is one of the best young artists out right now and currently has one of the biggest songs in the states with Lil Yachty-assisted jam "Broccoli."
Now a new collective is starting to make a name for themselves from Old Dominion. An artist can go from their momma's basement to a major record deal within months in today's internet age. That's exactly what happened to Divine Council, a group made up of Lord Linco, Cyrax and $ilk Money, who are born and raised on the North and South side of Richmond, Va.; and Icytwat, who's from Chicago. The group used the internet to grow their fan base and caught the eye of famed music industry executive L.A. Reid. After meeting Reid, Divine Council signed to Epic Records and their life was instantly changed.
"You know what’s funny," said Lord Linco to XXL. "We didn’t sign in New York, we signed back home and then faxed everything. That moment, I don’t think we even knew what we were thinking. We used to be those underground niggas that said we would never sign but when a great, real opportunity comes, why not? This dead-ass changed our lives."
Now with a major label backing them and their debut project, Council World, due out this year, Divine Council is looking to change the way hip-hop sounds.
Name: Divine Council (Lord Linco, Cyrax, $ilk Money and Icytwat)
Age: Lord Linco, 19; Cyrax,19; $ilk Money, 19; Icytwat,18
Hometown: Richmond, Va. and Chicago, respectively
I grew up listening to: $ilk: "Erykah Badu, Shabba Ranks"
Lord Linco: "Buju Banton, Sade, 50 Cent, a lot."
$ilk Money: "Richmond is whatever you make it. One thing I would say about Richmond is you can get yourself into some shit really quickly if you fuck with the wrong niggas. It easy to stay out of some shit, it’s real easy to get into some shit. If you don’t do no fuck shit, ain’t nobody fucking with you."
Linco: "You just have to know the right people to have some type of thing going on."
$ilk: "When the Clipse came out with ‘Grindin’ that was Virginia’s theme song."
Cy: "We were all beating that shit on the table at the lunchroom in school all the time."
Linco: "[How we all linked up is] I met Cyrax through a mutual friend at the time at a birthday party. We were like 15, 16. I already had the idea for Divine Council but I didn’t put in work because I didn’t have anybody with me. I met him and was like, “Bro, if you’re really ‘bout that shit, you in Divine Council.” He showed me that he was then he was in it."
$ilk: "How I got into [Divine Council] was I was just selling weed. That was my shit that was my first love. One time I sold weed to [Linco] and we just matched. We were riding around and shit and he playing music that he was about to drop at the time on a mixtape. This was in 2014. It was hard. I knew he was rappin’ back in the day and when I heard that shit I was like word. I started spittin’ some shit that I had wrote in my phone. I had no intentions of becoming an artist, I had no intention of laying down anything. I had no way of doing it. So I just started spittin’ some stuff I had wrote in my phone and he was like, you in Divine Council now."
Cyrax: "After that we were just rocking with just us three for a whole year and that winter that year. Icytwat was always sending us beats and everything we just made with him was fire so we were just like you might as well join. Everything was perfect. We’re very internet-based. We weren’t really focused with getting like a local presence. It was always on random ass places.
Linco: "Honestly, we weren’t even trying to be like the biggest, we were just putting out music that we liked listening to."
$ilk: "At the time in 2014, we was just trying to perfect the craft. We were in my crib everyday, smoking weed, watching Bernie Mac and The Parkers on mute, eating pizza and shit. That’s our creative process. We didn’t let any outsiders in [the house] to watch or anything. Only us."
Most people don’t know: Linco: "Divine Council is a muthafuckin’ brotherhood."
$ilk: "Niggas think Divine Council is internet based, nah, these are my brothers. I kill for these niggas."
Linco: "You know we really brothers ‘cause we really fight each other. We had thrown hands before."
$ilk: "That’s how you know we’re really brothers. We have our differences and shit but it ain’t not no bitchassness."
Cyrax: "Another thing people don’t know is that we can all sing. Like legit sing. We can al sing that R&B shit."
My style’s been compared to: $ilk: "I was just talking about this. [We describe our sound as] audio pastel because we pastel colors. It’s 'cause when you listen to our shit…for real, when I listen to certain beats or sounds I see a color. So it’s like when you hear our shit, it gives you color."
My standout records or moments to date have been: Linco: "I say they’re two. 'P. Sherman' by $ilk and 'I Like' by Cyrax."
Cyrax: "We had dropped 'I Like' last year. The way we dropped it, we just shot a video for it and threw it up. That was the first shit that took off. That was a big turning point for us. We never went viral before that point."
My goal in hip-hop is: $ilk: "Change the sound, change the feeling, and change the world. It ain’t really just about chasing the paper, at the end of the day niggas trying to make amazing fucking music and deadass change the whole sound. Everything sounds the same. Everything is trap this, trap that. It’s so many subgenres to trap [laughs]."
Linco: "People scared to really dig in themselves and bring out that greatness. That’s what we do."
Cyrax: "We are on our own shit that’s different from everything else."
I’m gonna be the next: Divine Council: "Jodeci"
Linco: "We signed to the same label."
$ilk: "We felt like Jodeci since the jump."
Cyrax: "Jodeci was just some raw ass niggas that was doing shit they way and nobody was doing that."
Linco: "And it was four of them too."
Follow Divine Council on Twitter and Soundcloud.
Standout: "I Like"
"Rolie Polie Olie"
"Lil Shorty 2"
"Dick in the Dope"
See 40 Hip-Hop Albums Turning 20 in 2016